UPDATE: Gov. Patrick has signed the bill into law.
Massachusetts will soon become the second state in which non-resident same-sex couples can marry. One reason the 2004 Goodridge decision has had relatively little spillover effect, legally, around the country is that a 1913 state law prohibited marriage in Massachusetts by out-of-staters if their marriage was not allowed under their home state’s law. It was a left-over from the era of anti-miscegenation laws, part of a wave of statutes enacted in the wake of a national scandal over the marriage of African-American boxer Jack Johnson and a white woman. Hmm… reactionary panic after public transgression of sexualized social hierarchy produces repressive laws that legislators even decades later are gunshy about repealing — seems like I’ve heard that story somewhere else …
House passes 1913 law repeal in roll call vote
by Ethan Jacobs
The bill to repeal the 1913 law is on its way to Governor Deval Patrick, who [has announced that he] will sign it into law. The bill cleared a final hurdle Tuesday afternoon, when the House of Representatives passed the bill on a roll call vote after about 45 minutes of debate. The vote was 118-35, with five members not voting….
A key factor in the debate was apprehension about lost revenue for the state if California had a monopoly on the s/s marriage market. An economic analysis from the Williams Institute made the case.
Meanwhile, employers are finding that it’s a lot more efficient to just go ahead and extend marital benefits to same-sex couples rather than to have two systems. Only problem is — they can’t. Under DoMA, federal tax provisions prevent a simple unitary model, because recognition of s/s marriages is prohibited for purposes of any federal law.
So, what’s shaping up here is the business case for recognizing s/s marriages on the same terms as other marriages. Within a few years, this ought to include business support for repeal of at least Section 3 of DoMA. The California energy utility PG&E has just donated $250,000 to the campaign to stop Prop 8, which would amend that state’s constitution to bar s/s marriage. If that initiative is defeated, as early polls indicate is likely, the next stop for the <business reason for non-discrimination> argument is Congress.